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comprehensive school


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A non‐selective model of secondary school which began to replace the former system of secondary moderns and selective grammar schools in the 1970s. The Education Act 1976 required local authorities to make all secondary provision comprehensive; but this was repealed by the Education Act 1979, leaving pockets of selective secondary education in some local authority areas in England. The term ‘comprehensive’ was used originally to indicate that such schools would provide a secondary education for all pupils in their area.

In Scotland the majority of state schools are comprehensive and are referred to as high schools or academies. Selective education is provided through the independent schools system. In Wales, too, almost all schools were comprehensive by the end of the 1980s. In Northern Ireland, however, selection lingered longer and became the focus of the Burns Report.

Subjects: Education.


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